It's not a surprise that everyone with access to the internet has become accustomed to watching their favorite television shows and movies through using the mode of streaming; what isn't a surprise, however, is just how fast major conglomerates and media companies have shifted their focus to the medium in which everyone gets their content nowadays.
It used to be that the big three streaming services— Netflix, Amazon and Hulu— were the only notable players in the game. As of recent, Disney+ has pretty much broken the internet with its extensive library of iconic Disney Channel movies and shows, Disney classics and their other beloved brands (like Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic, you know, the casual hitters). Oh yeah, and now they're making their own original shows and movies for each of their brands that audiences can only get exclusively by subscribing.
It's a real good strategy for Disney to get even more money out of their audience's pockets (I mean, I am one of them), but they aren't the only mega-company that rules the world and is getting more bank for their superb service; Apple has released their own platform which proves to deliver some extremely original content with some A-list talent (Jason Mamoa, Jennifer Anniston, and Hailee Steinfeld just to name a few). With their low price and bundle with Apple Music, it proves to be tempting to get into, yet, another streaming service subscription.
And that's not the end of what's coming: major networks and premium channels, such as NBC and HBO, are going to be releasing their own streaming platforms for their own costs as well as providing an exclusive home for their past properties and new projects to come.
But there's the catch.
All of these streaming platforms are coming to fruition because every major media network or company wants a piece of this giant pie that only some streaming services (like Netflix) were able to access because they had the rights of shows and movies from different studios. Think about the uproar social media had with Netflix announcing their pulling "The Office" and "Friends" when their contracts end, for example. Can you guess why they aren't (or most likely can't) keeping the rights to these mega-popular titles?
It's great that we are getting such an influx of diverse entertainment in today's "Golden Age of Television," but everyone seems to be in such an uproar because of the amount of money that is being spent monthly in every household and college dorm. Referencing the graph below, people could be spending upwards of $75 a month just on streaming service subscriptions alone. Without the bundle deals or college student discounts that most of these platforms offer, who knows if streaming would be as big of a hit.
This is also why many families and college students are becoming cable-cutters, but the fear of missing out on local news or being gypped out on better prices gets in the way of actually doing it. Either way, a lot of money is being spent on entertainment these days— including the music streaming services that take up even more of the pricing pie— and the question still remains on whether it is becoming way too much for consumers to handle.
I'm the first person to defend creativity, and I am unbelievably happy that we are living in an age where pretty much anything and everything is being freely expressed and appreciated across many mediums. But what I do see happening from here on out is how consumers are going to grow tired of paying these crazy monthly fees, and I worry that this will effect the entertainment we are receiving. Just as fast as the internet has taken the entertainment industry by storm, it also can be taken away from us in an instant.
I really do hope this "Age of Streaming" sticks around because it is genius and convenient for pretty much everyone, but I do hope media businesses realize that not everyone wants to get on the stream train. I know we can't go back to the good old days of VHS tapes and portable DVD players, but I hope that maybe we can still value the magic of a movie theatre and appreciate bathroom breaks during commercials every now and then.